School Closure and Delay Information
Spokane Public Schools will be open daily as scheduled, regardless of weather, unless a closure or late start announcement is made. Closure information will be:
- shared with the local media by 6 a.m.
- updated at facebook.com/SpokanePublicSchools, and at twitter.com/SpokaneSchools
- sent to staff and families using the district's notification system.
See Our Decision Making Process in Action
Inclement Weather Procedures
It is our goal to keep schools open during snowy weather. However, safety is never compromised when reaching a decision about school closures or late starts. Inclement weather may cause school schedules to be adjusted as follows:
While safety is the primary concern, state law requires the district to be in session 180 days. If the district closes schools, days must be made up at a later time during the school year. For many students, school is the safest place to be during inclement weather. In many cases, both parents and/or guardians work outside the home. Schools provide a warm, supervised environment for the children. However, parents are always encouraged to consider the conditions of their neighborhood and the well being of their students in deciding whether to keep their student home. Students are excused from school when parents so request.*AM Preschool sessions will be canceled, and PM sessions will run as normal from 12 - 3 p.m. School day Pre-K would follow the two-hour delay and begin at 10:30 a.m.If a 2-hour delay occurs on a Monday, Collaboration is cancelled and the 2-hour delay is based on a Regular Start schedule, unless otherwise indicated.
- Bus Delays – School operates on the regular schedule with busses running late.
- 2-Hour Delay* – If we experience significant snowfall this winter, we will first consider use of a 2-hour delayed start. Express Childcare will begin at 8 a.m.
- School Closure – If the snowfall is significant enough, we will close schools for all students and staff, and the day will be made up on one of the designated emergency make-up days.
*MAP: Friday 2-hour delay school schedule is 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
**Spokane Public Montessori: 2-hour delay on a Monday will start at 12 p.m.
Note: During a 2-hour delay, these school activities and classes will be cancelled:
- Zero Hour
- Morning field trips
- Morning practices
- NEWTech AM session
- On Track Academy and Pratt Academy AM sessions
- IMAGES/STEP Internships (AM and PM)
- IMAGES/STEP AM classes (these students may attend PM classes)
Status of after school extracurricular activities, events, and PM Express will be evaluated throughout the day. Families will be notified if programs are cancelled.
We dispatch the plows when the predicted snowfall is expected to be over 2 inches. It takes our 11 snow plow crews from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. to plow the entire district. However, when snow accumulation occurs in the early morning hours, completion of the entire plow route may not be possible. In that case, a 2-hour delay or other schedule adjustment may be used.
The SPS Transportation department will determine if selected routes need to be revised based on weather and subsequent dangerous road conditions. This information will be disseminated by the school or via Zum Bus Services for the families involved. Routes most likely to be affected are those outside the city limits.
If school is not closed, Event Services must be contacted if an organization or individual is cancelling an evening event due to inclement weather. All events are cancelled on school closure days. To cancel your event contact Event Services at 509-354-7315.
Each school building principal makes an individual decision whether or not to have outdoor recess. Unless weather conditions are too extreme, students will continue to have outdoor activities during the day. Fresh air and physical activities promote health, help develop strong bodies and improve learning in the classroom. We urge parents to make sure their children are dressed appropriately.
Tips on how to dress during cold weather
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Trapped air between the layers will insulate you. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.
- Wear a hat. 40 percent of your body heat can be lost from your head.
- Wear mittens. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves to keep your hands warm.
- Try to stay dry and out of the wind.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold. This is especially important if you have a respiratory condition such as asthma.
On occasion, weather conditions may be too extreme for outdoor activities. These include heavy precipitation (rain or snow), severe winds, extreme temperatures and extremely low wind chill factors. Local weather advisories are provided by the National Weather Service.
School administrators will often refer to the wind chill chart below to help determine if outdoor activities are appropriate for their students and staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Would you ever cancel school because of extreme temperatures?
Will outdoor recess be canceled today?
My bus is late. Can you tell me when it will arrive?
Why do you wait until 6 a.m. to notify us of a school closure or delay? Can't you just make the decision the night before?
What determines if there is a two-hour delay for everyone or only a delay for buses?
Will delayed days extend the school year? Will students have to make up that time?
Why didn’t I didn't get the notification on my phone about the delay/closure/early release?
Is there a certain amount of snow accumulation that triggers plowing or snow-blowing?